02 Jul 2021, 14:05
Benjamin Wehrmann

EU Green Deal should be expanded to renewables and hydrogen in Africa – German dev min

Clean Energy Wire

The European Green Deal should be expanded to also include African states as partners in the bid to achieve a climate-friendly economic recovery after the downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic, German development minister Gerd Müller has said. At the Austrian World Summit climate conference in Vienna, Müller said that green hydrogen production in Africa should be a cornerstone for economic cooperation with the EU in the context of the Green Deal. "Climate change impacts are a catastrophe for the poorest and weakest in the world. But they are also those who have a decisive influence on the climate's further course," Müller said. Across Africa, about 600 million people currently live without secure access to electricity, he said. "If they all are going to use coal power in the future, we will never reach the Paris climate targets," Müller warned. He said investment mistakes of the past should be avoided at all costs and the pandemic could serve as a fresh start to leave behind climate-damaging practices. "That's why the EU's Green Deal needs to be extended to Africa," the minister said, arguing that Europe's southern neighbour could become "a green continent of renewable energies" if European states make adequate investments.

The EU's Green Deal, which is meant to unlock synergies between emissions reduction and economic growth, is the bloc's key policy instrument for its aim of making the economy greenhouse gas neutral by 2050. It has been also hailed as an ideal vehicle for strengthening economic recovery in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. Development minister Müller already last year urged a better inclusion of climate and energy transition targets in EU-Africa relations. Given Germany's ambitious green hydrogen targets, imports of the greenhouse-gas neutral fuel from abroad are widely accepted to form a cornerstone of the country's bid to achieve climate neutrality and the government already has entered into negotiations with several African countries that could serve as possible production locations.

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